African cichlids vs. South American cichlids - FaunaClassifieds
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:51 AM   #1
sake51
African cichlids vs. South American cichlids

I have a 75 gallon that I want to get set up and in preparation I wanna start looking into what fish I should be putting in this tank. So my questions are:
What are the pros of each?
What are the cons of each?
Which one is able to be housed together with other types of fish?
Which is more likely to be able to permanently be housed in a 75 gallon?


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Old 03-26-2017, 05:59 PM   #2
sschind
Its kind of difficult to simply list pros and cons of such a huge group of fish. Both groups contain very beautiful fish and both contain species that are easy to care for. Both groups contain species that will live comfortably in a 75 and both groups contain species that will get along with others. On the flip side both groups contain species that are none of the above.

I know that's not what you want to read but it really 100% up to you. Personally I prefer the Africans as a group (Tanganyikans in particular) over the South Americans but recently I have become enamored with the SA species of the genus Cryptoheros.

I will try to Answer some of your questions though so I don't come off sounding like a total jerk. IMO many of the commonly kept the South Americans get too large for a 75. Oscars come to mind but there are a quite a few SAs that simply get huge. Obviously there are notable exceptions such as the rams, Apistos and the aforementioned Cryptoheros and there are others as well. That's not to say that all the Africans stay small but as a whole it seems that a community of Africans will be a better fit for a 75. I also think that with the right selection of species you will be able to get a better mix and a more peaceful mix with the Africans. Africans do get territorial but in my experience if you end up with a mated pair the SAs can be down right vicious. More so than a lot of the Africans.

Another thing to consider is your water quality. Where I live the water is very hard and alkaline so it is perfect for any of the rift lake cichlids from Africa. Of course I have kept a fair number of SAs in the same water so unless you are looking to breed or considering a very fussy species water parameters are not that crucial.

Something else to consider and it something I mention with some trepidation because I know there will be people jumping all over me for it, is the fact that SAs and Africans can be mixed. People will say they shouldn't be mixed because the water conditions are different but they are both highly adaptable. Like I said I where I live the water is hard and alkaline but I have never adjusted my water conditions and I have kept an bred many species of SAs.

As far as mixing, it all takes research. If you want a mixed cichlid community Africans may provide you with a better opportunity to do that, especially if you stick with one of the rift lakes (but you can mix species from different lakes) If you want to mix other types of fish such as catfish or tetras you may be further ahead going with the SAs because, in general, when we talk about Africans we usually are referring to the rift lake cichlids and many tetras and catfish from Africa do do better in softer water. That is not to say you can't find them that will adapt but in my experience they are not as adaptable as the cichlids. Of course there are the Synodontis catfish that would be right at home with your African cichlids.

All of my suggestions are very general and for the most part deal with the more commonly available fish. For everything I said there will be fish that don't fit. If you do your research and want to consider some fish that you are not going to find at most pet shops you can find many that will fit your needs.

Ultimately it is your tank and you are the one who will be looking at it so you shouldn't let anyone tell you you should keep this or that because they do this or that. As long as what you want is within reason that's one of the most important aspects of being successful. Keeping something that someone else tells you you should keep because they are "easier" is not a guarantee for failure (or quitting the hobby) but it is big factor.

The internet is a great research tool and my suggestion would be to simply take some time and search the images for fish you like. If you see something you like write it down after you have a big list then you can start looking at the specifics. If you see something you just have to have that will become your key species and everything else you choose will have to be compatible with it. If you don't have your heart set on one particular species your job will be much easier.

My nephew wants to turn his 180 native tank into a cichlid tank so he is going through pretty much what you are going through. His problem though is he really wants blue rams so that is going to make his job more difficult. It won't be impossible but I do know he will have some choices to make because he has also mentioned a lot of the rift lake Africans with peacocks in particular so something will have to give.

I wish you luck. In many ways I find aquarium keeping to be more rewarding than herps but the chips have fallen where they have and for now I am left with 1 saltwater tank with a pair of clownfish and that's it. Someday I'll get back into it though.
 
Old 03-26-2017, 06:00 PM   #3
AbsoluteApril
SA Cichlids are usually much larger and African Cichlids tend to do better in community tanks (less fighting). A lot of the SA Cichlids will get too large for a 75 but you could keep a pair in there, something on the smaller end like Jack Dempsey or Umbee but I would not recommend Oscar, Red Devils or Dovii, those will all get too large. pl*cos and other bottom cleaners should do well with both.
I've never kept African Cichlids, only SAs, but if you want a tank with multiple fish and species, I believe Africans would be the way to go.
 
Old 03-26-2017, 06:02 PM   #4
AbsoluteApril
ah there you go, much more detailed and good info from Steve! (we posted at the same time)
 
Old 03-26-2017, 08:38 PM   #5
sake51
That was awesome! Thank you so much Steve. And no need to worry about coming off rude haha I'm in love with the rams as well but definitely will start looking and writing down as you said. Idk why I didn't even think of that (duh) I definitely have lots of research ahead of me. I breed chameleons so I'm barely getting into the fish hobby and am still learning all the dos and donts. I appreciate all the information!


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